Skip chemical-based wasp repellents in favor of natural ones. ATTRIBUTION: Alvesgaspar (Wikimedia Commons)

I, like many gardeners, have encountered my fair share of wasps while working in my yard. It’s true that these buzzing insects can be beneficial in the garden, feasting on crop-destroying bugs like weevils, grubs, and caterpillars. Unfortunately, one wasp can turn into a colony of hundreds. If you’re dealing with unwelcome wasps in your yard, it’s time to get rid of them before they get out of hand. Try these natural, non-toxic methods to deter wasps from hanging around your property.

Make a Wasp Trap

Wasp traps can be made from household materials and are a simple and inexpensive way to trap wasps. Begin by cutting off the neck of a plastic soda bottle. Remove the bottle cap, cut off the top portion of the bottle, flip it upside down, and place it into the bottle. Tape or staple the two pieces together. To attract wasps, place bait at the bottom of the bottle. Ideas include meat, mashed grapes, dishwashing liquid, sugar water, soda, or a combination of water and vinegar. Attach a piece of rope or string to the trap, and hang it in your yard.

Grow Herbs/Plants

Certain plants and herbs act as natural wasp deterrents. Some of the best plants to keep wasps away include wormwood, citronella, mint, eucalyptus, basil, and lavender. When you grow these types of plants and herbs in your garden, you can keep wasps away while also beautifying your yard.

Seal Cracks in the Home

Wasps can enter homes through small cracks and crevices in the siding, roof, or foundation. While the occasional single wasp may be a fluke, if you’re seeing wasps on a daily basis inside your home, there’s likely a nest inside the building. If this happens, check your home for unsealed vents and cracks around door and window frames. Thoroughly seal off these points of entry to help keep wasps from coming and going.

Cover Garbage Bins

Wasps generally prefer to feed on other pests, mainly insects. However, social wasps are omnivorous and feed on nectar, fruit, and carrion, such as dead insects. When food is scarce, some wasps may resort to eating from garbage bins. If you keep your garbage cans outdoors, make sure that the tops are sealed properly to prevent wasps from entering. Garbage should always be placed in plastic garbage bags tied tightly and never directly into the can itself to keep odors to a minimum.

Hang False Nests

Wasps are territorial by nature. If they wander into an area where there is already a nest, they’ll think that there is already a colony and will likely go elsewhere. To create the illusion of a colony, make or buy a false wasp nest to hang in your yard. To build your own inexpensive false wasp nest, crumple some old newspaper into balls. Stuff the newspaper balls into a plastic shopping bag and tie it closed. Next, place the shopping bag into a paper lunch bag. Hang a false nest in areas of the yard where you typically see wasps.